Bangkok market

For a relatively small country, Thailand’s cuisine is incredibly diverse. Bangkok is Thailand’s largest city and is a melting pot of cultures, people and food. Southern China and Indonesia have had major influences on Thai cuisine for centuries and are responsible for the variety of tastes, flavours and cooking styles found in this region’s food. The people of Bangkok are particularly fond of sweet flavours, and their easy access to the sea also means an abundance of seafood. Read on to learn about some of the most iconic Bangkok culinary dishes and where you can try them.

Pad Thai

Pad Thai is one of Thailand’s most famous dishes and is a Bangkok street food staple. This delectable dish is made of rice noodles that are stir-fried with a combination of shrimp, beans, tofu, egg and seasonings and is served with lime halves. Several authentic Thai spices are mixed into this popular dish and give it the characteristic Thai flavour profile.

Where to go:

Thip Samai is undoubtedly Bangkok’s most famous destination for this dish. This praised eatery is decades old and perpetually packed, which is no surprise because their authentic and flavourful food will not cost you any more than NZNZ$5.

Tom Yam

Tom Yam is tangy, sour soup made of lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf and lime juice. Fresh chillies are added to give this dish its legendary sting. The mix of hot and sour is a classic Thai taste, and the fresh ingredients used in this soup make it light and enjoyable.

Where to go:

While Tom Yam can be found just about anywhere in Bangkok, it is hard to beat the version at Krua Apsorn. This Bangkok restaurant is one of the more expensive options in this metropolis; however, in Australian dollars, prices only reach up to NZNZ$13 per person.

Khao Pad

Khao Pad is the original Thai fried rice, and is with egg, onion and classic Thai spices. This popular lunch dish is typically served with a wedge of lime and slices of cucumber. Khao Pad is similar to Chinese fried rice, except with the traditional sweet and spicy taste from the sugar, salt, chili sauce and fish sauce called for in the Thai version. Khao Pad is essential for your list of must-try foods when you visit Bangkok.

Where to go:

Venture to Khao San Road for one of the best versions of this popular Bangkok dish. Khao San Road has several restaurants and eatery’s that specialize in authentic fried rice, and a meal and will only cost you about NZNZ$9.

Pad Krapow Moo Saap

Pad Krapow Moo Saap is a popular fried basil and pork dish that is often eaten for lunch or dinner. This Thai meal is made in a piping hot wok with lots of basil leaves, fresh chili, pork, green beans, soy sauce and a little sugar. Placed over white rice and often topped with a fried egg, this meal is more than satisfying.

Where to go:

If you are looking to try Pad Krapow Moo Saap, head to Theeo Hur. While this dish is a standard item on menus throughout Bangkok, Theeo Hur does a spectacular job with this staple for only NZNZ$10.

Kaeng Kari Gai

Kaeng Kari Gai is a chicken dish featuring yellow curry. The yellow curry has a mellow sweet-spicy blend made from turmeric and curry powder and mixed with coriander, cumin, lemongrass, shrimp paste, red chillies and other authentic Thai spices. The dry roasted spices and fresh ingredients create a traditional, aromatic curry dish that gives visitors a true taste of Thailand.

Where to go:

Yusup Pochana is an authentic Thai Muslim restaurant and a hidden food gem in Bangkok. Do not miss out on this local eatery—their yellow curry dishes are easily some of the best in the area and cost around NZNZ$6.

Kanom Beuang

Kanom Beuang is a tiny, taco-like snack sold with two types of filling. You have the option of ordering your dish with a sweet inside that combines rich strands of duck egg and preserved fruit, or you may select the savoury choice with a spicy mixture of dried shrimp and white pepper.

Where to go:

Kanom Beuang can be found at many street vendors in the older parts of Bangkok, but the stall at Nang Loeng Mark is top notch.

Mee Grorp

This culinary delight from Bangkok is made of crispy noodles prepared in the classic manner using a wok and genuine Thai spices that provide the dish with a fragrant, sweet and sour flavour. After eating your fill of rice and soup, the crunchy noodles of Mee Grorp will mix up your meals while still qualifying as authentic Thai cuisine.

Where to go:

The Chote Chitr restaurant is one of a handful of places to go for a traditionally made, great tasting dish of Mee Grorp. Costs at Chote Chitr range from NZNZ$1 to NZNZ$8.


Bamee is not hard to find in Bangkok. The dish of Chinese-style egg noodles with slices of barbequed pork mixed with greens and wontons is a staple for Bangkok locals. This meal is usually served with chillies in vinegar and dried chilli flakes, so be prepared for some spice.

Where to go:

For something exceptional, head to Mangkorn Khăo in Bangkok’s Chinatown for an authentic atmosphere to dine on your flavourful Bamee. Dishes at Mangkorn Khăo will cost you around NZNZ$1.

Khao Mok Gai

Chicken biryani, a dish popular in the Muslim world, also has a foothold in Thailand. Khao Mok Gai is typically made with chicken over spiced rice and served with sweet and sour dipping sauce and a bowl of chicken broth. This well-known Thai-Muslim rice dish is usually prepared for special occasions and is not a common dish to cook at home, so stop by an open air market for a taste of this fancy meal.

Where to go:

For a traditional taste of Khao Mok Gai, check out the Muslim Restaurant. This 70 year old Bangkok institution still serves up exactly the same menu it did back in the World War II era, and it all tastes just as genuine. Prices for a meal at the Muslim Restaurant range from NZNZ$8 to NZNZ$12.


Mataba is thin sheets of dough that have been filled with a savoury or sweet stuffing and then fried. Depending on which you choose, the inside could be made of pork or beef seasoned with curry powder, or you could pick the sweet version with egg and slices of banana. Mataba—often referred to as Roti—is a Thai food essential that has hints of Indian elements and influences.

Where to go:

For a classic version of this fried and filling dish, head to Roti-Mataba. The low prices at Roti Mataba (NZNZ$0.66 to NZNZ$5) are a steal for their amazing Mataba.


If you are feeling really adventurous and truly on the hunt for authentic Thai cuisine, one of the most popular culinary delights in Bangkok is cooked insects. Get a quick glimpse of Dan taking his first taste of a fried scorpion in Bangkok.

Where to go:

Check out the street vendors and open markets for this quick snack. Prices for street food can range from NZ$NZ.25 to NZ$NZ1.

Over-indulged on fried bugs? Or maybe all of the chili spice is getting to you. Either way, be prepared for your international food adventure with travel health insurance.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Oleg Sidorenko; cropped from original